Socialism Via Co-ops?

I agree with you that a change in the mode of production from employer/employee capitalism to worker ownership, operation, and management of the workplace is socialism in action. However, doesn't that solve only part of the problem? Aren't there other requirements for comprehensive, viable systemic change? A few of them that come to my mind are: (1) working class acquisition of dominant political power; (2) the world-wide liberation of workers from wage slavery;and (3) de-militarization and an end to imperialism.

(1) In the U.S., an entirely new constitution establishing genuine democracy and equal representation under the law is sine qua non. (2) An isolated socialistic country, even one as powerful as the U.S. might be, would have great difficulty functioning as socialist society in the context of a global economy still dominated by capitalism. (3) The power of the military must be drastically curtailed, meaning that a controlling majority of the military rank and file must join with workers in opposing the power of bourgeois forces fighting to preserve their power.

I would also comment that the world does not have much time to derail the juggernaut of global capitalism that is rushing toward the dual precipice of nuclear war and climate catastrophe. Is the time required to develop an economy based on WSDE's  enough to avert these looming tragedies?

Thank you.

Official response from submitted

The reason we at democracy@work.info stress the transition from hierarchical capitalist enterprises to workers self-directed enterprises is NOT because that can or will make all the other changes needed for a new, better society. It is rather because nearly all socialisms to date (and they are many and varied) have typically excluded or marginalized enterprise reorganization, the micro-level of social change without which the macro-level changes socialists champion cannot be secured or cannot long survive. That is one lesson from the socialist experiments of the 20th century we need to learn. We want to add enterprise reorganization - the democratic transformation of the productive base of society - to the agendas for social change of today's social movements.

I must also admit that I dont know - and doubt anyone does know -in what order social transformations occur. Does the micro-level need to preceded the macro...or vice versa? Can something begin in one country and spread to others or must change occur simultaneously in multiple countries? Because we do not and cannot know, we proceed as best we can along multiple paths and in response to opportunities and popular thinking and movement. I also dont know what amount of time we have, as you put it. So again, we proceed as best we can.


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  • Richard Wolff
    responded with submitted 2017-08-07 11:51:56 -0400
  • Will Cooper
    published this page in Ask Prof. Wolff 2017-08-05 21:02:43 -0400

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